WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday approved all four Pentagon officials nominated by the Obama administration, including a Raytheon lobbyist whose potential conflict of interest led to objections to the nomination.
The nominations still need to be voted on by the entire Senate.
Ratheon executive William Lynn was nominated to be deputy secretary of defense, the number two position under Secretary Robert Gates. Lynn was given
special waivers so that he could be appointed despite President Barack Obama's
ethics rules, which would have seemed to make him ineligible to operate in that
Lynn was a senior vice president at Raytheon, which has billions of dollars in Defense Department contracts. It is is the maker of the Army's Patriot Missile system and the Navy's Tomahawk missile, and is developing a global positioning satellite communication system for the Air Force. Lynn oversaw lobbyists and did some lobbying of Congress himself.
As deputy secretary, Lynn would be involved in the process of budgeting and acquisitions, in addition to running the day-to-day operations of the Defense Department.
A number of senators, including the committee chairman, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, and the ranking Republican, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, had expressed concern about what Lynn's involvement would be in decision making given the potential for conflict of interests.
After receiving more information from Lynn, both removed their objections.
Also approved by voice vote were Robert F. Hale to be Under secretary of defense (comptroller) and chief financial officer, Michele Flournoy to be under secretary of defense for policy, and Jeh Charles Johnson to be general counsel.